With another 16 days to go in this election campaign, here is what is happening today:
Gordon Brown wil launch Labour’s “growth manifesto” later today, seeking to reinforce the party’s image as the protector of the economic recovery. Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray addresses the Scottish Trades Union Congress. Home secretary Alan Johnson debates crime on the Daily Politics (2.15pm; see below).
After the change of tack in last night’s party election broadcast, it is a quiet day for the Tories. Notably, following his B&B comments, Chris Grayling surfaces on the Daily Politics (2.15pm; see below).
Riding high from last week’s leaders’ debate, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg held a press conference this morning (7.30am), attacking the City and reiterating his party’s manifesto promise to break up the banks. Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne is on the Daily Politics talking crime later (2.15pm; see below).
The Daily Politics features a live crime debate between between Labour Party Home Secretary Alan Johnson, Conservative Party Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, and Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne. They are cross-examined by presenter Andrew Neil and BBC home editor Mark Easton (2.15pm). BBC Parliament broadcasts a live debate between town hall debate from the Albert Halls in Stirling, a three-way marginal seat held by Labour (8.45pm), between candidates Bob Dalrymple (Conservative Party), Anne McGuire (Labour Party), Graham Reed (Liberal Democrats), Alison Lindsay (SNP) and Paul Henke (UKIP).
STV airs first of three Scottish leaders’ TV election debates, though Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond is expected to send SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson instead, with the other parties following suit. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy for Labour, Alistair Carmichael for the Lib Dems and David Mundell for the Conservatives. ITV1 hosts a weekly election discussion programme Campaign 2010 with Jonathan Dimbleby featuring high profile political guests, commentators and a live audience who have their say on the major events and issues from the week.
The Scottish National Party launch their manifesto this morning (10am), with leader Alex Salmond pledging to protect voters from Westminster’s public service cuts. The British National Party are also set to launch their manifesto today — leader Nick Griffin is running against Labour encumbent Margaret Hodge in Barking.
Away from the campaign
The Champions League Semi-Finals get underway despite the volcanic travel disruption with Inter Milan vs. Barcelona. It is the first time in seven years that no English team has made the semis — and Inter boss Jose Mourinho is the first manager to take three different teams to this level. As ever, watch out for championship top scorer, the maestro, Lionel Messi.